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5 Things to Watch this Week

Tribune Staff • Updated Nov 8, 2016 at 12:15 AM

The fall season isn’t over quite yet for a few local prep sports teams. The postseasons for football and volleyball have advanced to regional play, while girls swimming and boys water polo teams are preparing for their final tournaments of the year.

Every team will be playing for their postseason lives from here on out. We’ve highlighted just a few prep sporting events you won’t want to miss this week.

Class A volleyball regional

When: Tonight, Thursday

Where: East Kentwood High School

Teams: Grand Haven vs. East Grand Rapids, Rockford vs. Zeeland East

The Grand Haven volleyball team captured its 10th straight Class A district title last weekend in dominant fashion. The Buccaneers rolled past host Mona Shores (25-16, 26-24 and 25-14), Muskegon (25-4, 25-3, 25-12) and Kenowa Hills (25-15, 25-17, 25-12) to advance to this week’s regional tournament at East Kentwood High School.

Grand Haven (48-9) faces East Grand Rapids in the regional semifinals tonight, with hopes of surpassing last year’s loss in the regional semifinals to Grand Rapids Christian (3-0). The Bucs have a strong senior class of key players such as: outside hitter Morgan Ross; setter Katie Cole; libero Sophia Newhouse and middle blocker Claire Holman.

The team has also received a boost in play from junior outside hitter Olivia Boeve and sophomore middle blocker Avolyn Lepo.

The squad seems to be clicking on all cylinders at the moment and will be a tough out for any team it runs up against the rest of the postseason. A win tonight could set up an O-K Red Conference rematch with rival Rockford in Thursday’s regional final.

Class B volleyball regional

When: Tonight, Thursday

Where: Fremont High School

Teams: Fruitport vs. Holland Christian, Grant vs. GR West Catholic

The Fruitport volleyball team broke a five-year drought last Saturday when they brought home the Class B district championship trophy.

The Trojans swept through the district field with decisive wins over host Orchard View (25-16, 25-11, 25-6), rival Spring Lake (25-15, 25-12, 25-13) and Montague (25-19, 25-17 and 25-18).

The program is hoping this year’s team can repeat what the last Fruitport district winners accomplished and bring home a Class B state championship.

The first step toward that goal will be defeating Holland Christian tonight at Fremont High School.

Senior middle blocker Ally German continues to be one of the team’s leaders in kills, while sophomore Kylie Oberlin and senior Katie Veihl have also added some big hits on the attack.

Sophomore Kailey Carmean has found her groove as the team’s setter, while senior Kelsie Schultz has been a key defensive standout for the squad.

After clearing a big hurdle that has eluded them recently, this team seems to be picking up a lot of momentum at just the right time.

Michigan Water Polo Association State Championships

When: Friday-Saturday

Where: Hudsonville High School

Teams: Grand Haven, Ann Arbor Huron, Zeeland, Okemos, Hudsonville, Dexter, Rockford, Ann Arbor Skyline.

The surviving eight teams from the MHSAA regional tournaments will meet at Hudsonville this weekend to fight for a state championship.

The Grand Haven boys water polo team is among them, ranked fifth overall and carrying the west region No. 2 seed.

The Bucs will face Ann Arbor Huron High School at 7:45 p.m. on Friday in the opening round of the tournament. The winner will move on to play in the semifinal match at 11:45 a.m. Saturday, while the loser will enter the consolation bracket with a highest possible finish of fifth overall.

Should the Bucs move on they will face the winner of Okemos vs. Zeeland. An upset by Zeeland would pit the two West Michigan teams against each other for the third time this postseason, but a victory over 1-seed Okemos is unlikely.

The boy’s have set a goal of finishing in the top half of the tournament, fourth or better. In order to accomplish their goal they only must win their first round game. Should they lose in the semifinal they will play for third place at 6:15 p.m., Saturday.

Division 3 football regional

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Where: Hackley Stadium in Muskegon

Matchup: Muskegon Big Reds vs. Byron Center

One of the biggest prep football playoffs games in the state this weekend will happen just down the road at Hackley Stadium in Muskegon on Friday.

The No. 1 ranked Muskegon Big Reds (10-1) host the No. 5 ranked Byron Center Bulldogs (10-1) in the Division 3 regional.

The game will be a rematch of a Week 4 battle that saw Muskegon throttle Byron Center, 49-14.

The Bulldogs have outscored their opponents 321-134 since that loss to the Big Reds, including a 55-28 drubbing of Grand Rapids Christian in last week’s district final.

The Big Reds have been simply overpowering on offense. Muskegon has outscored their opponents 572-136 on the season. Their only blemish came at the hands of Lincolnshire Stevenson (Illinois) in Week 2, 38-35.

Muskegon’s two-quarterback system of La’darius Jefferson and Kalil Pimpleton has worked wonders for the veer-option attack of coach Shane Fairfield.

Against East Grand Rapids, Jefferson finished with 121 yards rushing on 20 carries and completed 5-of-6 passes for 61 yards.

Pimpleton added 81 yards rushing on six carries. Andrew Ward led the Big Red defense with 13 tackles, while Eli Jackson added 11.

Division 8 football regional

When: Saturday, 1 p.m.

Where: Kehren Stadium in Muskegon

Matchup: Muskegon Catholic Central vs. Frankfort

The Muskegon Catholic Central football team is following a similar path to Ford Field this postseason. The Crusaders dispatched Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart (67-7) and Beal City (42-0) in the first two rounds of the playoffs, just as they did last fall.

This time, however, they seem to be leaving little doubt as to who the better team might be. They will have a chance to continue that trend as they face Frankfort, who pushed the Crusaders in last year’s regional, on Saturday from the friendly confines of Kehren Stadium in Muskegon.

MCC had to hold off a late rally by the Panthers to advance, 22-12, last November. The close call last season, added with a surging Crusaders offense, might be hard to stop for a Frankfort defense that allowed 34 points last weekend.

The Crusaders are led by senior tailbacks LaTommy Scott and Walker Christoffersen, senior fullback Logan Helton and freshman quarterback Cam Martinez.

The MCC first-string defense has only allowed 12 points all season, and has been forcing turnovers at an impressive clip this postseason. Unless the Golden Domers are plagued by penalties and turnovers, it will be an uphill battle for visiting Frankfort on Saturday.

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